Each day this month I will be answering one question from these December Journal Prompts.
Day 22: What are some of your favorite holiday memories?
I enjoyed many truly wonderful Christmases as a child. When I thought about this question, before any specific memories came to mind, I first remembered a feeling. A feeling of warmth, and comfort, and magic. A feeling of fun and anticipation. And a feeling of belonging—because to me, Christmas means family.
I love my family so much, but it has been a long time since I’ve lived anywhere near them. Nowadays we only spend every other Christmas together, and although I miss them all the time, I think it is probably during the holidays when I miss them most.
Earlier this month, as I began to think ahead about this blog post, my mom and I took a little trip down memory lane together through a text message conversation. Since I couldn’t just go over to her house and dig through her old photos while sipping a cup of hot peppermint tea, instead she went through the photo box for me and texted me snapshots of many wonderful holiday moments from my childhood.
Here are a few memories that, to me, encapsulate the warm, cozy feeling I get when I think about holiday memories.
- Christmas Eves at Spruce Woods Provincial Park. These outdoor adventures on Christmas Eve with my family are still some of my fondest memories of my childhood. Tobogganing down the hillside, skating under the stars through a wooded path, throwing curling rocks with no hope of success, and of course warming up and roasting hot dogs inside the toasty log cabin. I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve. Thinking of these moments now almost moves me to tears. What beautiful memories.
- Decorating the tree. Even to this day, I don’t think anything else says Christmas warmth and magic like a twinkling Christmas tree. As a child, I loved decorating the Christmas tree. I also loved that once the tree went up, the countdown to Christmas was officially on!
- Christmas baking. It’s just not Christmas without mom’s delicious Christmas goodies! For our family, the top picks were Rice Krispies marshmallow balls and old-fashioned sour cream cookies with buttercream icing (both of which I still make every year for the holidays). Christmas baking also meant spending quality time with mom while I “helped” her in the kitchen. I can’t wait to make similar precious memories with Avra!
- Family gatherings. I come from two very large Mennonite families! My dad was one of eleven children, and my mom was one of fourteen! So, when you gathered up all the aunts, uncles, and cousins for a Christmas gathering each year, it made for one heck of a party! There were board games, and carol singing, and skating, and sleigh rides, and gift exchanges, and boy oh boy… let’s not forget about the food!
- Listening to Christmas music. Music has always been an important part of my heritage, and at Christmastime especially. A few of the classic cassettes that played on repeat in our home over the holidays were “Christmas with Boney M” and “Once Upon a Christmas” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.
- Christmas oranges. I don’t know what it is about this magical fruit, but something about them helped define Christmas for me as a child! Whether it was getting one in my Christmas goodie bag from church, snagging one from the snack table at the family gathering, or enjoying one at home, Christmas oranges were always a special treat during the holidays.
- Christmas morning. How could we leave out Christmas morning? All the magic and excitement and anticipation of the season culminated on Christmas morning when we finally got to open up the gifts that had been waiting for us beneath the tree!
So many magical moments. I only hope that I too will be able to provide my children with such a rich heritage of memories to warm their hearts at Christmas, and every day of the year.